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#2063707 - 04/12/13 09:01 PM Best way to practise a new song
PianoHarry Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia
I have noticed time and again that I may be going well with a new tune, only to get stuck at some difficult part which difficulty seems over and above the rest of the piece.
Consequently I have a few 'half tunes' where I have become discouraged at some sticking point.

What is the best way to learn a new song? Start at the end? Start at the beginning and end simultainiously and meet in the middle? Start with the hard bits?

Or none of the above?

Cheers and thanks for any help

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#2063709 - 04/12/13 09:04 PM Re: Best way to practise a new song [Re: PianoHarry]
pianotimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 51
play through once with mistakes. zone in on the mistakes and play them alone until you can play them perfectly alone. Incorporate the difficult part with the whole song and play together. clap clap smile

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#2063834 - 04/13/13 02:54 AM Re: Best way to practise a new song [Re: PianoHarry]
JohnSprung Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 2991
Loc: Reseda, California
You've already tried it enough to identify the parts that you find difficult. Take those difficult parts and try different fingerings for them. When you have the best fingerings for the hard parts, work outward from there to set the fingerings for the rest. That way you can sort of spread the difficulty around and make it more even. For instance, I sometimes have the same note repeated a few times, but I choose to play it with different fingers just to get in position for what's coming next. Figure out your optimum fingering as efficiently as you can and write it down. Un-learning a practiced fingering to adopt a better one really makes a mess.
_________________________
-- J.S.

I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body.
Then I realized who was telling me this.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

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#2063841 - 04/13/13 03:19 AM Re: Best way to practise a new song [Re: PianoHarry]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Playing the piano for pleasure. Book is an absolute gold mine on structure.

Plus. Check graham fitch website out.
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulGPiano

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#2063855 - 04/13/13 04:08 AM Re: Best way to practise a new song [Re: PianoHarry]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1389
Loc: Cameron Park, California
I'd recommend checking out these resources:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th5ljgUP9lg (how to practice efficiently)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVgvHWTLOIA (how to work out difficult passages)


I'd start by writing in (in pencil) fingerings for phrases you don't think you'll remember so that you don't practice several different fingerings and ingrain into muscle memory bad ones. Next, I'd make note of how the piece could be broken down into sections (little logical sections of generally no less than 1 measure/bar to no more than a few measures/bars) and possibly also mark these spots on the paper. Then it's just a matter of slowly practicing these sections and then practicing connecting these sections. Members here recommend doing this last part anywhere from 4-10 consecutive times perfectly per section before leaving a section or whole piece completely alone until having slept on it (see the following quote)

Originally Posted By: Ernest Dras ("Slow practice will get you there faster")
The elder Mozart would place ten dried peas in his son’s left coat pocket, and for each successful attempt at a difficult passage, Mozart would move a single pea to his right pocket. When he failed on any piece, even if it was the tenth repetition, all the peas had to be placed back in his left pocket — Wolfgang had to begin anew. What usually happens when using this method is that the student slows down his tempo in order to play the passage perfectly.
_________________________
Bernhard - Always Have a Plan

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#2064116 - 04/13/13 04:25 PM Re: Best way to practise a new song [Re: UK Paul UK]
PianoHarry Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia
Which author? Amazon has numerous titles by that name. Thanks

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#2064220 - 04/13/13 08:46 PM Re: Best way to practise a new song [Re: PianoHarry]
IanW Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/09
Posts: 58
Loc: Adelaide, South Australia
UK Paul would be referring to a book written by Charles Cooke in the 1940s. He's right this is a real gem and deals with the specific issue of how to tackle short difficult sections (or fractures, as he refers to them) and turn them from the weakest spot to the strongest part of the piece.

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#2064518 - 04/14/13 01:52 PM Re: Best way to practise a new song [Re: PianoHarry]
Greener Online   content

Platinum Supporter until July 22 2014


Registered: 05/29/12
Posts: 1767
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: PianoHarry
I have noticed time and again that I may be going well with a new tune, only to get stuck at some difficult part which difficulty seems over and above the rest of the piece.
Consequently I have a few 'half tunes' where I have become discouraged at some sticking point.


You've received good advise already. Will just add ... go slowly mastering small sections. Start putting the sections together only when they are mastered.

Whatever you do though, don't get discouraged and leave it. Keep working on the challenging parts (again in small sections)... for however long it takes until they are as strong as the rest and you can start putting everything together.

There is no point in having the piece otherwise beautiful throughout, but a train wreck for a couple of measures. You understand this of course by way of your initial post.

The way to get past this is with patience, practice, patience, practice and repeat, repeat etc. etc.

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#2065175 - 04/15/13 09:09 PM Re: Best way to practise a new song [Re: PianoHarry]
PianoHarry Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia
Thanks to everyone who took time to reply. I hope I am in a position to help you one day.
Cheers
Harry

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#2065194 - 04/15/13 09:51 PM Re: Best way to practise a new song [Re: PianoHarry]
vexwk Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/14/13
Posts: 6
Book is an absolute gold mine on structure.
_________________________
cavid beekins

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